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Activists from antiwar group disrupt US defense secretary’s testimony

Activists from the antiwar group Code Pink have disrupted congressional testimony by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, denouncing the US position on Israel’s war on Gaza.

The activists accused Austin of supporting Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

On X, the group posted videos, verified by Al Jazeera, showing police arresting one of the activists at a committee hearing in the House of Representatives dedicated to discussing the Pentagon budget.

US trying to ignore more reports of abuse with the good old "we asked Israel to investigate itself"

US says will press Israel for probe after UNRWA report

State Department spokesman Vedant Patel’s words come after the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) released a report detailing abuses committed against those held in Israeli detention.

The report detailed the testimonies of more than 100 Palestinians released from Israeli detention. Abuses included being denied food, water or toilet access for hours while detainees hands and legs were bound. Others said they had been inappropriately searched, beaten and groped.

The report said the actions may amount to “sexual violence and harassment”.

Patel called the accounts deeply disturbing and said that Washington will press Israel, its close ally, on the need for a full investigation. Rights groups have repeatedly said that past US appeals for such investigations have proven inadequate.


Gaza media office calls for release of all Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails

Gaza’s media office says more than 5,000 Palestinians have been arrested by Israeli forces since the assault on the enclave began in October. In a statement marking Palestinian Prisoner’s Day, the office said prisoners are being subjected to “vengeful policies” that aim to strip them of their most basic rights.

The statement comes a day after the Government Media Office called on rights groups to act after hearing testimonies from a large number of freed Palestinians who were recently detained by Israeli forces. These include testimonies and accounts from children younger than 12 years old.

“We call on the international community to uphold its moral and legal obligations and intervene to end the grave mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners,” it said.

The office also called for the immediate release of some 10,000 Palestinian prisoners currently held in Israeli jails.

Qatar ‘re-evaluating’ role as mediator: Prime minister

Qatar has been working for months as a mediator in negotiations aimed at bringing about a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of Israeli captives. But Qatar’s prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, said Doha is re-evaluating that role, adding that some parties have used the mediation for “narrow political interest”.

He made the comments during a joint news conference with Tukey’s foreign minister in Doha. He added that while Qatar remains committed to mediation on a “humanitarian basis”, there has been “abuse and harm” done related to Qatar’s role.

Some parties have made “destructive” statements against Qatar, he said, without saying to whom he was referring.

On Tuesday, Qatar’s embassy in Washington, DC, denounced comments from US lawmaker Steny Hoyer, who said the US would re-evaluate its ties with Qatar if it does not pressure Hamas to accept a ceasefire proposal advanced by the Israelis and accused Qatar of siding with Hamas.


Last edited by SvennoJ - on 17 April 2024